We are now in 1987 in the Kiss timeline and something odd has happened. For the first time in Kisstory, Kiss did not release an album in a given year. 1986 did not see a Kiss studio album release. For a band that started out doing 2 a year and then one a year, it is a huge surprise that 1986 saw nothing. Not even a greatest hits package. After the Asylum Tour ended, Kiss took a break as they had been going strong for 12 years non-stop. Gene went off and produced other albums such as Black N’ Blue and Paul, well Paul was left trying to keep Kiss alive (no pun intended).
By this time, Paul was pretty sick of Gene’s lack of commitment and confronted Gene about. He told Gene that it wasn’t fair that he was off doing all these side projects while reaping the benefits of Kiss thanks to Paul doing all the work and heavy lifting and you know, Paul is right. Paul was the one to save Kiss and keep the wheel’s turning. I don’t know how much that worked, because Gene’s input on this album is still pretty minimal with only 4 of the 11 songs on the album. Heck, Bruce had 4 writing credits on this album and Eric had one. Paul brought in some of the same people to help write the album including Adam Mitchell, Desmond Child and even Diane Warren. The band took on a more pop, radio-friendly sound with this one and saw them use synthesizers a great deal more with Paul, Bruce and Phil Ashley helping out on that instrument. The one cool thing about the album is that the line-up is unchanged from ‘Asylum’. Kiss saw no turnover this time around and this band would stay together for at least one more album.
‘Crazy Nights’ was recorded from March to June of 1987 and was finally released on September 18,1987 to pretty good success. The album went platinum in the U.S. and to #18 on the US charts. It had three singles off the album, none broke the Top 40, however, they were played a ton on MTV. The Kiss machine was still working although in 1987, there were numerous bands that were blowing up keeping them from the top as bands such as Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Guns N Roses were firmly planted at the top of the charts keeping Kiss as more of a second tier act.
The album I have has the album sleeve insert as seen above, but it also has an autograph on it that you can see in the picture below. It is supposedly autographed by Bruce Kulick. I saw supposedly because I have no way of verifying the signature and I don’t know the story of how that signature got there. I didn’t pay a heavy price on this either so not sure how authentic it is. I do know, if it is really his signature, it is pretty cool to have it.
I did see this show in concert back on February 10, 1998 with the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent, opening for Kiss. I loved Ted as a younger lad with “Cat Scratch Fever” and to see him live was awesome. The man is a maniac and was a blast. Kiss was great too, but this a much more streamlined Kiss show. Not as much pyro, no Gene spitting fire, it was a standard rock show.
Before we get in to the music, here is a bit of other trivia on this album. The band recorded a ton of extra material that didn’t make the album. Songs like “Sword and Stone” were later recorded by Paul Dean of Loverboy and by the band Bonfire. There were a couple songs called “Dial L for Love” and “Are You Always This Hot” where the demo ended up on Gene Simmons ‘The Vault’ and are two of my favorite tracks on that release. A song called “Boomerang” wound up later on Hot in the Shade and there were actually a ton more that have circulated out in the bootleg world that I do not have yet and I want. Someday. Okay, now let’s get to the music.
The first track and single was “Crazy, Crazy Nights” written by Paul Stanley and Adam Mitchell. It was a different opening track. It was upbeat, kind of pop sounding yet anthemic at the same time. Paul didn’t sing so much as speak the verses and is quite cheesy. It was the biggest hit the band had ever had in the UK reaching #4, but only #64 in the US which tells me a lot about the UK’s taste (kidding). Is it a good song, no not really. Is it a fun song, yeah, it is fun.
The band redeemed themselves a lot with the next song called “I’ll Fight Hell to Hold You” written by Paul and Adam again with help from Bruce Kulick. This was more a guitar driven track and Bruce laid down a cool riff. Paul comes in and sings this one and now we are back to the Kiss I know and love in the 80’s. It has a catchy chorus and completely rocks out with a kill Kulick solo. It has been mentioned that Adam Mitchell is on guitar on this along with Bruce, but Bruce is doing the main guitar work and you can tell Bruce’s sound.
Paul completely loses me with this next, horrid track called “Bang Bang You”. It seems Paul took a page from Gene’s playbook to come up with the most sexual and the stupidest lyrics that suck more than a whore in a vacuum shop (WTF am I saying…I don’t know, that is how bad this song is). And to think this is a Paul and Desmond Child song. I guess Desmond can have a sucky song after all.
“No, No, No” explodes out of the gate with a guitar solo by Bruce and this song is all Bruce and Bruce at his best. He freaking tears it up and then throw in that destructive double bass drum of Eric and what a song. We are finally to Gene’s first song and not a moment too soon. The song is written by Bruce, Eric and Gene and with original titles like “Assume the Position” and “Down on All Fours”, I wonder what this was about!! This might be the heaviest song on the album and is probably my favorite Bruce song for sure and one of my favorites of Gene’s in a long, long time. Bruce gets two guitar solos and he has so many fills and riffs thrown in that is a Bruce showcase song for sure. He was a gunslinger with that guitar.
Gene is back with the next song called “Hell or High Water”. It is another song that Bruce helped write and he had actually written the riffs on the Asylum Tour. Gene finished off the lyrics and a song was born. It is a darker song, heavy and a nice fit for Gene. Bruce lays another stellar solo. The song is so-so, not a major winner, but doesn’t suck either.
The first side ends with a heavy synthesizer song called “My Way” written by Paul, Desmond Child and Bruce Turgon (Foreigner and other bands). It is more of a pop song with those synths, it is a high energy and inspirational song about doing things your way and not letting anyone tell you how to do it. Come to think of it, that is what Paul was doing with these albums. He was doing what he wanted to do since Gene wasn’t around as much.
Side Two opens with “When Your Walls Come Down” which is another Paul, Adam and Bruce track. Bruce wrote the riff on this one on the Asylum Tour as well. Paul wrote the chorus and Adam helped tie it all together. With the opening lyrics of “Liar Liar got your pants on fire”, you know the song is bad. They even had more nursery rhyme lyrics and it is play awful. It is an upbeat rocker and a little more edge than some of Paul’s songs on here, but lyrically it is bad.
The bands next single was “Reason To Live” and this was written by Paul and Desmond Child and was a huge success on MTV. It is a power ballad like any power ballad at the time full of synthesizers and overproduced. Perfect for the time. Paul felt you had to have a ballad if you wanted any kind of airplay at the time and this song fit that niche perfectly. It isn’t a bad song as ballads go and I have to admit that I do like it even though it is as generic as you can get.
Up next is Gene’s song “Good Girl Gone Bad” written with Davitt Sigerson and Peter Diggins. The song is about a college girlfriend of Gene’s who was this sweet innocent flower until she met Gene. However, she never gave it up to Gene, but to some other guy in the back of a car. I love the story on this one and it is another great Gene song. Gene’s vocals are kind of smooth on this one and he sounds fantastic. Bruce and Eric play exceptional as always and I really enjoy this one.
The third single on the album was “Turn On the Night” and is a song Paul wrote with the great songwriter, Diane Warren. She did the Aerosmith song “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”. It is another heavy produced, synthesizer pop song. As far as a radio-friendly track goes, it is a good one. It isn’t really a Kiss song, maybe a Paul solo song, but I like it. It is catchy, gets you moving and singing along and what more could you want.
The final track is from Gene and is called “Thief In the Night”. It was written by Gene and Mitch Weissman and you know this song because we talked about it a couple weeks ago as it was covered by Wendy O. Williams on her ‘WOW’ album that Gene produced. It is a menacing sounding song. Very heavy on the deeper notes, darker and edgier which is what Gene should sing. I do like it better than Wendy’s version although hers starts off with more of a bang. For someone not heavily involved in the album, his contributions this time around were solid for me. At the time, I didn’t know this song had been covered by someone else prior to this version.
- Crazy Crazy Nights – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- I’ll Fight Hell to Hold You – Keeper
- Bang Bang You – Delete
- No, No, No – Keeper
- Hell Or High Water – Keeper
- My Way – Delete
- When Your Walls Come Down – Delete
- Reason to Live – Keeper
- Good Girl Gone Bad – Keeper
- Turn On the Night – Keeper
- Thief in the Night – Keeper
The Track Score is 7.5 out of 11 or 68%. Yes, I would only delete 3 songs (and 1/2 of another), but the rest of the tracks are only okay with a few minor exceptions. This isn’t the strongest album they have put out. I did forget to mention that Paul didn’t produce this one like the last two albums. The producer was Ron Nevison and I think he overproduced it. The keyboard were a little too much for me for a historically guitar driven band. Kiss were chasing trends and not making them at this time. They wanted to be Bon Jovi when they should’ve concentrated on being Kiss which has been their problem for about a decade at this point. Overall, it is a weaker album and I think I will give it a 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars. It is funny how I liked Gene’s songs more on this one than Paul’s and Gene was only part time.
Next Up: Kiss – “Crazy Crazy Nights” (1987) – 12″ Single (Bonus Edition)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
The Kiss Review Series:
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – Kiss (1974)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
- Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
- Kiss – Alive! (1975)
- Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
- Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
- Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
- Kiss – The Originals (1976)
- Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
- Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
- Kiss – Alive II (1977)
- Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
- Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
- Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
- Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
- Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
- Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
- Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
- Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
- Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
- Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
- Kiss – Killers (1982)
- Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
- Kiss – Lick It Up (1983)
- Kiss – Animalize (1984)
- Wendy O. Williams – WOW (1984) (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Animalize Live Uncensored (1985)
- Kiss – Asylum (1985)
- Kiss – “Tears Are Falling” 7″ Single (Bonus Edition) (1985)
- Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1985 Re-Issue)
- Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
- Black N’ Blue – Nasty Nasty (1986)
- Ace Frehley – Frehley’s Comet (1987)
- Kiss – Exposed VHS (1987)
- Kiss – Crazy Nights (1987)
The Bootleg Series:
- Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
- Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
- Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
- Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
- Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
- Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
- Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
- Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
- Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
- Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
- Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
- Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
- Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
Kiss – The Box Set:
- The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)
Gene Simmons – The Vault:
- Part 1 – The Grand Opening
- Part 2 – Disk 1
- Part 3 – Disk 2
- Part 4 – Disk 3
- Part 5 – Disk 4
- Part 6 – Disk 5
- Part 7 – Disk 6
- Part 8 – Disk 7
- Part 9 – Disk 8
- Part 10 – Disk 9
- Part 11 – Disk 10
- Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
- Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
- Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
- Part 15 – The Final Verdict